TechRadar

Posts Tagged ‘youtube

Now this has some interesting repercussions.

Who would’ve imagined that a pakistani move to ban you tube would be replicated globally amongst ISPs, leading YouTube being blocked for more than a couple of hours on Sunday. So, if you would’ve tried to access YouTube during those times, all you would’ve got was a 404 page not found.

Probably Pakistani ISPs tried to change their DNS to put YouTube to a non existent entry. That would all have been fine if it was not replicated by the DNS servers worldwide. The guys at Open DNS have though referred this as IP hijacking. Whatever might be the case, this should spark serious discussions on our mechanisms to propagate DNS changes and how to insulate different ISPs from malicious ISP’s or even the hijacking of a DNS.

Youtube is back up now and hope this becomes food for thought for all concerned.


Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which just announced buying online video tech provider Maven Networks, has quietly relaunched its consumer video service. The service, which has been retooled a few times and hasn’t been a big competition to the likes of YouTube and others, still has the traffic funnel of Yahoo, so has to be taken into contention. The service has a bigger player, better resolution, a better upload tool, and has some new tools for organizing content. This relaunch does not yet incorporate anything from Maven’s acquisition, but one would expect it to be part of the service down the line…which would probably mean an even higher quality video experience.

One missing thing for Yahoo is any kind of premium downloads. Would expect this not to be done in-house, and someone like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) through its Unbox service could be a partner…after all Amazon has been looking to do such powered-by deals of late.

picture1.jpg

As reported on paidcontent.org

Here’s the article on Yahoo’s Maven acquisition on paidcontent.org

Life goes on at Yahoo: the company has confirmed its previously rumored acquisition of online video platform Maven Networks, although the price tag of “approximately” $160 million is a bit higher than the previous $150 million estimate. The reports first surfaced on New TeeVee and TechCrunch on Jan. 31, the night before Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) launched its bid for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). It’s not clear if the delay, however, between the initial reports and the official announcement had anything to do with the bigger issues facing the company. Cambridge, MA-based Maven offers a platform for high-res video hosting and distribution, as well as a system for video advertising. Release.

— Maven, which has raised $30 million, has relationships with a number of major content providers, including Fox News, Sony BMG, and “CBS” Sports. Backers include Prism Ventures, Accel Partners and General Catalyst. By comparison, Brightcove, whose CEO Jeremy Allaire was the EIR at General catalyst when the firm invested in Maven, has raised $80 million, since its launch in 2004.

— The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo, will remain in Cambridge but becomes part of Hilary Schneider’s Global Partner Solutions group. Yahoo says it plans to invest in the growth of Maven’s overall video business and to expand Maven’s suite with “video monetization services” and “advanced technologies for delivering consumers more relevant advertising experiences.”

David adds: I spoke with Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc and Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo’s director of video strategy/sales. More after the jump…

Both offered details of the complementary aspects of working together, especially as Yahoo prepares to relaunch its video network on Thursday. Both also said that the discussions between Yahoo and Maven occurred month’s before Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo was floated. Ozguc said he regards the Microsoft talk as a side issue far removed from his and Yahoo’s current plans. As for how a Microsoft takeover might affect Maven down the road, Ozguc would only say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

A playing field of titans: The nascent stage of online video, which was dominated by startups, has passed, Ozguc said. Now it’s a “playing field of titans and we thought the time was right to become one of the biggest players in online advertising. It’s not just Yahoo’s display and search capabilities, but their deep relationships with publishers that made this such a good fit for us.”

The combination: Maven manages the video distribution and ad trafficking for over 30 media companies with hundreds of affiliate sites within them. And Yahoo has licensing deals with roughly 75 percent of the major TV ad spenders. “It’s not that Yahoo didn’t have deals with many of the players that we do, but we’ve five years on creating a video publishing system. That technology is the other half of our value proposition. We’re a pure technology provider. We never got into ad sales or creating portals. It’s a very clean relationship from that perspective.”

Maven brand stays (for now): Ozguc: “We’re still a well-known brand and there’s no reason to do away with it. That’s not to say that Yahoo won’t rebrand it. But the plan right now is to keep the name in place.” And even though the two companies are working on integrating each other’s workforces, Ozguc added that no layoffs are imminent. “That issue has been talked about and decided. Yahoo did not acquire this company to lay people off.”

YouTube may have captured the largest video audience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of niches to exploit. AniBoom is tapping into an impassioned community of video animators to create content that will, occasionally, capture some of that YouTube-sized audience.

A competitor for the video award at tomorrow’s Crunchies, AniBoom is different from most other video sites in one important respect: Almost all of its content was created by members, whereas video sites like YouTube are famed for having content ripped off from other sources.

AniBoom, by comparison, even has its own software tool, Shapeshifter, that can be used to make professional-quality animations. For fun, it also has the recently created Micro-Smotion tool, which can add simple animated tidbits to regular video. The site says it is growing rapidly in popularity.

Like other sites, most of the existing content is stuff you wouldn’t want to bother watching. However, AniBoom is counting on the star factor — from any large group of people, several exceptional individuals are bound to come forth.

AniBoom’s CEO, Uri Shinar, likes to compare the possibilities of his site by referencing Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who were unknown talents making short clips until a Fox executive groomed them, leading to the hit cartoon South Park. AniBoom attempts to replicate this success in its Creator’s Series, although none that we saw had gotten more than a few thousand views.

However, the South Park comparison is apt in more than one way. The Stone and Parker creation that led Fox to contact them was a quirky student animation of Jesus killing a deranged snowman. Many of the videos on AniBoom are similarly odd. One of my personal favorites: “Rabbit: Terror of the Wood,” a series of very short clips about a desperately horny rabbit.

The site also runs contests offering cash prizes, which seem to attract quite a few submissions, proving that the world’s junior animators are eager for both fame and money.

Although there are other animation sites around, like Crunchyroll (coverage here), AniBoom is one of the only sites encouraging indie content. Another is MyToons, which just launched.

AniBoom is located in Israel. The site took $4.5 million from Evergreen back in the beginning of 2007.

Reported on Venturebeat

A must read if your one of those who wonder how a few videos get to 1Mill hits even though you didnt think much of em ………. I ‘ve personally been using a few of such techniques to improve traffic on a few of my owns videos ……but good to see Mr. Dan creating a company out of it …. He consults the big brands trying to make their ad’s & videos go viral on Youtube and does make it happen , top of the mind i guess Nike commercial was their brainchild…….Any takers ….

Would love to run such a company :)……………..

Dan Ackerman Greenberg

Update: Dan has a follow up to this post, here.

This guest post was written by Dan Ackerman Greenberg, co-founder of viral video marketing company The Comotion Group and lead TA for the Stanford Facebook Class. Dan will graduate from the Stanford Management Science & Engineering Masters program in June.

Have you ever watched a video with 100,000 views on YouTube and thought to yourself: “How the hell did that video get so many views?” Chances are pretty good that this didn’t happen naturally, but rather that some company worked hard to make it happen – some company like mine.

When most people talk about “viral videos,” they’re usually referring to videos like Miss Teen South Carolina, Smirnoff’s Tea Partay music video, the Sony Bravia ads, Soulja Boy – videos that have traveled all around the internet and been posted on YouTube, MySpace, Google Video, Facebook, Digg, blogs, etc. – videos with millions and millions of views.

Over the past year, I have run clandestine marketing campaigns meant to ensure that promotional videos become truly viral, as these examples have become in the extreme. In this post, I will share some of the techniques I use to do my job: to get at least 100,000 people to watch my clients’ “viral” videos.

Secret #1: Not all viral videos are what they seem

There are tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube each day (I’ve heard estimates between 10-65,000 videos per day). I don’t care how “viral” you think your video is; no one is going to find it and no one is going to watch it.

The members of my startup are hired guns – our clients give us videos and we make them go viral. Our rule of thumb is that if we don’t get a video 100,000 views, we don’t charge.

So far, we’ve worked on 80-90 videos and we’ve seen overwhelming success. In the past 3 months, we’ve achieved over 20 million views for our clients, with videos ranging from 100,000 views to upwards of 1.5 million views each. In other words, not all videos go viral organically – there is a method to the madness.

I can’t reveal our clients’ names and I can’t link to the videos we’ve worked on, because YouTube surely doesn’t like what we’re doing and our clients hate to admit that they need professional help with their “viral” videos. But I can give you a general idea of who we’ve worked with: two top Hollywood movie studios, a major record label, a variety of very well known consumer brands, and a number of different startups, both domestic and international.

This summer, we were approached by a Hollywood movie studio and asked to help market a series of viral clips they had created in advance of a blockbuster. The videos were 10-20 seconds each, were shot from what appeared to be a camera phone, and captured a series of unexpected and shocking events that required professional post-production and CGI. Needless to say, the studio had invested a significant amount of money in creating the videos but every time they put them online, they couldn’t get more than a few thousand views.

We took six videos and achieved:

  • 6 million views on YouTube
  • ~30,000 ratings
  • ~10,000 favorites
  • ~10,000 comments
  • 200+ blog posts linking back to the videos
  • All six videos made it into the top 5 Most Viewed of the Day, and the two that went truly viral (1.5 million views each) were #1 and #2 Most Viewed of the Week.

The following principles were the secrets to our success.

2. Content is NOT King

If you want a truly viral video that will get millions of people to watch and share it, then yes, content is key. But good content is not necessary to get 100,000 views if you follow these strategies.

Don’t get me wrong: the content is what will drive visitors back to a site. So a video must have a decent concept, but one shouldn’t agonize over determining the best “viral” video possible. Generally, a concept should not be forced because it fits a brand. Rather, a brand should be fit into a great concept. Here are some guidelines we follow:

  • Make it short: 15-30 seconds is ideal; break down long stories into bite-sized clips
  • Design for remixing: create a video that is simple enough to be remixed over and over again by others. Ex: “Dramatic Hamster”
  • Don’t make an outright ad: if a video feels like an ad, viewers won’t share it unless it’s really amazing. Ex: Sony Bravia
  • Make it shocking: give a viewer no choice but to investigate further. Ex: “UFO Haiti”
  • Use fake headlines: make the viewer say, “Holy shit, did that actually happen?!” Ex: “Stolen Nascar”
  • Appeal to sex: if all else fails, hire the most attractive women available to be in the video. Ex: “Yoga 4 Dudes”

These recent videos would have been perfect had they been viral “ads” pointing people back to websites:

3. Core Strategy: Getting onto the “Most Viewed” page

Now that a video is ready to go, how the hell is it going to attract 100,000 viewers?

The core concept of video marketing on YouTube is to harness the power of the site’s traffic. Here’s the idea: something like 80 million videos are watched each day on YouTube, and a significant number of those views come from people clicking the “Videos” tab at the top. The goal is to get a video on that Videos page, which lists the Daily Most Viewed videos.

If we succeed, the video will no longer be a single needle in the haystack of 10,000 new videos per day. It will be one of the twenty videos on the Most Viewed page, which means that we can grab 1/20th of the clicks on that page! And the higher up on the page our video is, the more views we are going to get.

So how do we get the first 50,000 views we need to get our videos onto the Most Viewed list?

  • Blogs: We reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post our embedded videos. Sounds a little bit like cheating/PayPerPost, but it’s effective and it’s not against any rules.
  • Forums: We start new threads and embed our videos. Sometimes, this means kickstarting the conversations by setting up multiple accounts on each forum and posting back and forth between a few different users. Yes, it’s tedious and time-consuming, but if we get enough people working on it, it can have a tremendous effect.
  • MySpace: Plenty of users allow you to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages. We take advantage of this.
  • Facebook: Share, share, share. We’ve taken Dave McClure’s advice and built a sizeable presence on Facebook, so sharing a video with our entire friends list can have a real impact. Other ideas include creating an event that announces the video launch and inviting friends, writing a note and tagging friends, or posting the video on Facebook Video with a link back to the original YouTube video.
  • Email lists: Send the video to an email list. Depending on the size of the list (and the recipients’ willingness to receive links to YouTube videos), this can be a very effective strategy.
  • Friends: Make sure everyone we know watches the video and try to get them to email it out to their friends, or at least share it on Facebook.

Each video has a shelf life of 48 hours before it’s moved from the Daily Most Viewed list to the Weekly Most Viewed list, so it’s important that this happens quickly. As I mentioned before, when done right, this is a tremendously successful strategy.

4. Title Optimization

Once a video is on the Most Viewed page, what can be done to maximize views?

It seems obvious, but people see hundreds of videos on YouTube, and the title and thumbnail are an easy way for video publishers to actively persuade someone to click on a video. Titles can be changed a limitless number of times, so we sometimes have a catchy (and somewhat misleading) title for the first few days, then later switch to something more relevant to the brand. Recently, I’ve noticed a trend towards titling videos with the phrases “exclusive,” “behind the scenes,” and “leaked video.”

5. Thumbnail Optimization

If a video is sitting on the Most Viewed page with nineteen other videos, a compelling video thumbnail is the single best strategy to maximize the number of clicks the video gets.

YouTube provides three choices for a video’s thumbnail, one of which is grabbed from the exact middle of the video. As we edit our videos, we make sure that the frame at the very middle is interesting. It’s no surprise that videos with thumbnails of half naked women get hundreds of thousands of views. Not to say that this is the best strategy, but you get the idea. Two rules of thumb: the thumbnail should be clear (suggesting high video quality) and ideally it should have a face or at least a person in it.

Also, when we feel particularly creative, we optimize all three thumbnails then change the thumbnail every few hours. This is definitely an underused strategy, but it’s an interesting way to keep a video fresh once it’s on the Most Viewed list.

See the highlighted videos in the screenshot below for a good example of how a compelling title and screenshot can make all the difference once the video is on the Most Viewed page.

6. Commenting: Having a conversation with yourself

Every power user on YouTube has a number of different accounts. So do we. A great way to maximize the number of people who watch our videos is to create some sort of controversy in the comments section below the video. We get a few people in our office to log in throughout the day and post heated comments back and forth (you can definitely have a lot of fun with this). Everyone loves a good, heated discussion in the comments section – especially if the comments are related to a brand/startup.

Also, we aren’t afraid to delete comments – if someone is saying our video (or your startup) sucks, we just delete their comment. We can’t let one user’s negativity taint everyone else’s opinions.

We usually get one comment for every thousand views, since most people watching YouTube videos aren’t logged in. But a heated comment thread (done well) will engage viewers and will drive traffic back to our sites.

7. Releasing all videos simultaneously

Once people are watching a video, how do we keep them engaged and bring them back to a website?

A lot of the time our clients say: “We’ve got 5 videos and we’re going to release one every few days so that viewers look forward to each video.”

This is the wrong way to think about YouTube marketing. If we have multiple videos, we post all of them at once. If someone sees our first video and is so intrigued that they want to watch more, why would we make them wait until we post the next one? We give them everything up front. If a user wants to watch all five of our videos right now, there’s a much better chance that we’ll be able to persuade them to click through to our website. We don’t make them wait after seeing the first video, because they’re never going to see the next four.

Once our first video is done, we delete our second video then re-upload it. Now we have another 48-hour window to push it to the Most Viewed page. Rinse and repeat. Using this strategy, we give our most interested viewers the chance to fully engage with a campaign without compromising the opportunity to individually release and market each consecutive video.

8. Strategic Tagging: Leading viewers down the rabbit hole

This is one of my favorite strategies and one that I think we invented. YouTube allows you to tag your videos with keywords that make your videos show up in relevant searches. For the first week that our video is online, we don’t use keyword tags to optimize the video for searches on YouTube. Instead, we’ve discovered that you can use tags to control the videos that show up in the Related Videos box.

I like to think about it as leading viewers down the rabbit hole. The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for viewers to engage with all your content, rather than jumping away to “related” content that actually has nothing to do with your brand/startup.

So how do we strategically tag? We choose three or four unique tags and use only these tags for all of the videos we post. I’m not talking about obscure tags; I’m talking about unique tags, tags that are not used by any other YouTube videos. Done correctly, this will allow us to have full control over the videos that show up as “Related Videos.”

When views start trailing off after a few days to a week, it’s time to add some more generic tags, tags that draw out the long tail of a video as it starts to appear in search results on YouTube and Google.

9. Metrics/Tracking: How we measure effectiveness

The following is how we measure the success of our viral videos.

For one, we tweak the links put up on YouTube (whether in a YouTube channel or in a video description) by adding “?video=1” to the end of each URL. This makes it much easier to track inbound links using Google Analytics or another metrics tool.

TubeMogul and VidMetrix also track views/comments/ratings on each individual video and draw out nice graphs that can be shared with the team. Additionally, these tools follow the viral spread of a video outside of YouTube and throughout other social media sites and blogs.

Conclusion

The Wild West days of Lonely Girl and Ask A Ninja are over. You simply can’t expect to post great videos on YouTube and have them go viral on their own, even if you think you have the best videos ever. These days, achieving true virality takes serious creativity, some luck, and a lot of hard work. So, my advice: fire your PR firm and do it yourself.

Scobleizer(Robert Scoble‘s Blog) Reports

Is YouTube working on streaming video?

“We’re working on a lot of interesting things,” Chad Hurley, one of the co-founders of YouTube told me yesterday when I met him and Steve Chen on the show floor and showed them Qik’s ability to stream video live from a cell phone (something that YouTube can’t do). Watch the rest of the interview here. I also ask them when they’ll do high def on YouTube.Why were they at CES? To check out the new 150-inch Panasonic plasma. I tried to invite myself over to their house to watch the Super Bowl.